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Old 11-13-17, 07:19 AM   #1
rodteague
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What features would you want on your perfect touring trailer?

Greetings

I hope you will bear with me on this topic because, I know there are strong opinions on trailer vs panniers, and thats not what this thread is about. I am in the process of building a trailer for my personal use, and while doing my research the thought occurred to me to ask those of you who have used a trailer for touring; "whats your perfect trailer?". I want to know what you liked and disliked about your trailer, and the things you would change. I know what I want in a cargo trailer, but haven't a clue as to what would make a great touring trailer.

Feed back or thoughts on these specific attributes would also be helpful.

1. materials. i.e. Frame: aluminum vs steel; deck: wood vs aluminum vs fabric etc.
2. length
3. width
4. one wheel or two?
5. tire/wheel size i.e. rim diameter and width; fat tire vs thin. Spoke vs moulded wheel
6. axle preference
7. flat bed vs bin


You get the idea. Any and all thoughts are welcome.

Looking forward to your input


Best regards

Rod

Last edited by rodteague; 11-13-17 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 11-13-17, 08:12 AM   #2
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Given that you are set on making your own, realistically I would suggest looking at established designs to take advantage of the what works and has surely gone through various development stages to get to something that works well.
As I am sure you are very aware, its like making your own panniers, at a certain point going with something already made will work better and last longer.

from a purely functional point of view, I would suggest one wheel from a safety point of view when on narrow, potholey roads , re tracking and avoiding holes with a truck passing close beside you.

be aware also that if you watch out for used trailers such as a Bob trailer, they are fairly easy to resell after use if in good shape if ever you decide you do not like using one.

good luck on your project if you proceed with this.
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Old 11-13-17, 09:00 AM   #3
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djb

Thanks for the input; I appreciate it. I assume you like the narrower, single wheel trailers for it's better maneuvering capabilities. The trailer I am building is actually a "cargo conversion" of an old InStep trailer that my wife and I purchased many years ago to haul around our boys when they were very young. Once my last outgrew it; we started using it to haul beach toys and gear during our many camping trips. During that time I came to understand what I wanted in a cargo hauler, and more specifically... what I want in a beach/fishing trailer. Thats what I am building right now with the old InStep.

During the beginning stages, I actually did what you suggested, and looked at more trailers than I can count. DIY'ers and current manufactured ones. What intrigued me, was the level of dissatisfaction that so many have when it comes to touring trailers. It seems that, opinions are so varied that no one single type trailer hits all the right buttons for what makes a truly good touring trailer. The only consensus I have gleaned is that it needs to be narrower than what most 2 wheeled, refitted cargo platforms offer. Single wheel trailers hit the mark for narrow, but loose on length and stability. As to the rest, it appears to be personal preference; or not?

The purpose of the post is to get feed back from those who have used touring trailers, both two wheel and single wheel. I would like hear their experiences good and bad, and any changes they would like to see with their preferred platform.

Thanks again

Rod
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Old 11-13-17, 09:09 AM   #4
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Old 11-13-17, 09:16 AM   #5
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I own three trailers that I use for different purposes:
- Burley travoy. My grocery and laundry cart. Two wheels and I can bring it into the supermarket with me. Not a favorite for touring because - two wheels and the mount is high.
- Bob Yak. My carry everything cargo trailer. Single wheel, attaches low and relatively stable. If I didn't also have panniers, then I would use it for touring.
- Extrawheel. My favorite for touring when I am not just using panniers. Single wheel that is same size as my bicycle wheel allowing me to share tubes and tires. Lighter than my Bob but carries enough. Tracks very well and attaches low.

To some extent your choice will depend on how you use it and building your own lets you do exactly that.

For me personally, my ideal would be an Extrawheel that I could use to bring a complete spare rear wheel for expedition riding. My Extrawheel is currently only a front which lets me bring spare front (or rim).

However if I were doing more local rides and didn't already have panniers than some variation of the Bob design might be better.
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Old 11-13-17, 09:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan s View Post
I am assuming this is your perfect trailer; can I challenge you to expound a bit more? Likes and dislikes? Would you make changes? Have you used or owned others, if so, what made you settle on the Ibex?

Regards

Rod

Last edited by rodteague; 11-13-17 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 11-13-17, 09:26 AM   #7
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Never used a trailer. This is my idea of a perfect trailer. Self powered and able to carry a huge load with one tire.
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Old 11-13-17, 09:31 AM   #8
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I own three trailers that I use for different purposes:
- Burley travoy. My grocery and laundry cart. Two wheels and I can bring it into the supermarket with me. Not a favorite for touring because - two wheels and the mount is high.
- Bob Yak. My carry everything cargo trailer. Single wheel, attaches low and relatively stable. If I didn't also have panniers, then I would use it for touring.
- Extrawheel. My favorite for touring when I am not just using panniers. Single wheel that is same size as my bicycle wheel allowing me to share tubes and tires. Lighter than my Bob but carries enough. Tracks very well and attaches low.

To some extent your choice will depend on how you use it and building your own lets you do exactly that.

For me personally, my ideal would be an Extrawheel that I could use to bring a complete spare rear wheel for expedition riding. My Extrawheel is currently only a front which lets me bring spare front (or rim).

However if I were doing more local rides and didn't already have panniers than some variation of the Bob design might be better.
Thanks, more of what I'm wanting to hear.

Question: What is it about "two wheels" that makes a trailer less desirable as a touring trailer? If it were narrower than a typical "cargo" platform and slightly longer, with the wheels set a little further back, would that make a difference? It would handle better and be less "tippy" for sure. Your thoughts?

Thanks

Rod
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Old 11-13-17, 09:39 AM   #9
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Never used a trailer. This is my idea of a perfect trailer. Self powered and able to carry a huge load with one tire.
Interesting, that trailer is a conundrum. For me, it conjures up potential dicey scenarios; but still curious none the less.

Thanks

Rod
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Old 11-13-17, 10:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodteague View Post
Question: What is it about "two wheels" that makes a trailer less desirable as a touring trailer? If it were narrower than a typical "cargo" platform and slightly longer, with the wheels set a little further back, would that make a difference? It would handle better and be less "tippy" for sure. Your thoughts?
In terms of one wheel vs. two, what I like on a single wheel is when it tracks the same as my bicycle wheel. That way if I'm avoiding hazards like potholes or glass or little wires, the trailer just follows along.

Narrower would help in that regard, though perhaps at expense of less cargo.

A one wheel trailer does need to be loaded so it doesn't become unstable side to side. Typically not a big deal except when I was using my Bob to move some awkward sized things.

I do think you can make your two wheels further back mechanism work fine.
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Old 11-13-17, 10:46 AM   #11
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....You get the idea....
have you tried a search of archived posts?
this here is one of those topics that has been
debated to death.....hundreds of threads on trailers.
all your questions and more have already been
answered, so now you're like, reinventing the....trailer.
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Old 11-13-17, 10:55 AM   #12
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I have never pulled a trailer, but I have followed others that were pulling two wheel trailers. From that I decided that a one wheel trailer would be the way to go because sometimes there is debris on the road or shoulder, it is easier to miss that with one wheel track compared to three wheel tracks. Two wheel trailer could force you further into the traffic lane if there is no or minimal shoulder. On muddy trails or trails with loose soil I suspect creating three wheel tracks is more rolling friction than one wheel track, but on rolling friction I am only guessing.

I see one advantage of a two wheel trailer, the hitch is much easier to make if you are doing a DIY trailer. But a used two wheel trailer for hauling kids is probably cheaper than the parts for a DIY. A friend of mine bought a kiddie trailer for a bike tour so that he could pull it behind his mountain bike.

I would use a 20 inch wheel like from a kiddie bike, the tubes and tires are readily available in stores. A used front wheel from a kiddie bike should be easy to procure when you see how many of these bikes are discarded in the trash.

Or, I would use the same wheel size that my bike uses so it could share tires and tubes. I recall seeing a photo of a bike and trailer, teh trailer had 135mm dropout spacing so it could use a spare rear wheel. If you damaged a rear bike wheel but it could still roll, you could swap wheels. I think that was in the Outback that that was used.

But I see no reason to use a different size wheel than the bike uses unless tires and tubes are readily available like a kiddie bike.

I know one person that has a dynohub in his trailer wheel. I do not see much advantage to that, but I mention it because some riders might have an interest in it.

Would you ever travel with the trailer by air or by train? How you pack it could be an issue to consider before you build it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Never used a trailer. This is my idea of a perfect trailer. Self powered and able to carry a huge load with one tire.
I was curious what that giant hub was for, thanks for explaining there is a motor in it.

***

Attached photo, it is hard to see the rumble strip in the edge of the shoulder in the photo, but it was really obnoxious. I think a two wheel trailer would have been a real pain to pull on that road.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20IMGP3485.JPG (282.2 KB, 123 views)
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Old 11-13-17, 11:00 AM   #13
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Koga of NL made one. the Chela.

whole set of fitted bags, and it included a table chair and an umbrella mount to keep the sun & rain at bay..


https://media.treehugger.com/assets/...a_unpacked.jpg


http://s.bikesale.de/images/pictures...TWMxb_zoom.JPG





....

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Old 11-13-17, 01:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
[...]
- Extrawheel. My favorite for touring when I am not just using panniers. Single wheel that is same size as my bicycle wheel allowing me to share tubes and tires. Lighter than my Bob but carries enough. Tracks very well and attaches low.

For me personally, my ideal would be an Extrawheel that I could use to bring a complete spare rear wheel for expedition riding. My Extrawheel is currently only a front which lets me bring spare front (or rim).
Favorite here as well -- you write "when I am not just using panniers". I presume that this is a typo since the extrawheel is used to carry 2 (additional) panniers.

Main advantage is that it light and small and therefore flies better than other trailers, in a flight bag or a bike box.

I like the suggestion of making it compatible with a rear (135mm) wheel.
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Old 11-13-17, 02:40 PM   #15
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Greetings...
Hard to beat the design of Burley Nomad for cargo trailer. These can be sometimes be found on sale in winter for ~$200, or used in good condition on eBay/CL.
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Old 11-13-17, 05:37 PM   #16
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One more addition, a way to attach a 3/8th inch diameter fiberglass poll that has a flag on top. Fiberglass poles that size are cheap at farm supply stores if you feel competent to make a flag.
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Old 11-13-17, 06:14 PM   #17
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If considering two wheels, think about a pivoting axle as used on the rear of a Honda Gyro scooter. The front of the bike can lean but the articulated rear keeps both wheels upright and on the ground. On a bike/trailer combo this would mean that the bike and the loaded deck of the trailer would lean but the trailer wheels would not. Just a thought.
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Old 11-13-17, 06:36 PM   #18
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My 2c... I prefer the single wheeled trailer because as you are riding you do not worry about the right wheel going off of the lip on the edge of the roadway. (you are able to hug the roadside edge closer. The three sort comings of the BOB are; 1) it's too small, a larger cargo area would be nice, maybe 36". 2) pack ability/ self maneuverability. I wish that the arms could swing out of the way and I wish that it had a cary handle, for when it is detached from the bike. 3) also a support stand, so it does not just flop over when detached from the bike with a load. Maybe aluminum material.
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Old 11-14-17, 07:46 AM   #19
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Re # 17.. 2 wheel trailers use an elastomer coupling for flexibility so bike leans to corner unimpeded.
Bike Friday's suit case trailer uses a section of hose..

My Carry Freedom City trailer folds flat, its wheels stay on and go into the squarish frame.
the tow bar folds down , it meets the left axle at a square angle and thanks to the ball elastomer
in the socket under the axle nut, the rear kickstand fold of my Brompton is usable..

the folded bike can go on top of the sling bag , ti run long rail platforms to catch your train, if needed..

and as post below shows you can also carry boxes on top or additional bags .



a bag with back pack straps can let you wear the trailer, and lift the bike in your hands, to say climb stairs.
Stiles over fences, etc.

they sold through the batch run they ordered from a 3rd party manufacturer, a few years ago..
folded, It fits in the cargo area of my Burly flat bed cargo trailer



A view from the cycle path: Bike Trailers - Carry Freedom City


....

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Old 11-14-17, 11:59 AM   #20
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Attached photo, it is hard to see the rumble strip in the edge of the shoulder in the photo, but it was really obnoxious. I think a two wheel trailer would have been a real pain to pull on that road.
This^^^^
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Old 11-14-17, 12:44 PM   #21
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Also, I’ve seen plenty of bikes pulling two-wheel trailers on the C&O towpath with one wheel in the grass and the other on dirt. Needless to say, it is not efficient.
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Old 11-14-17, 04:37 PM   #22
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Thanks for all the responses

Now more specific. How many of you are running a trailer without a suspension? Is it necessary for a road trailer? Pros and cons.

Regards

Rod
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Old 11-14-17, 07:11 PM   #23
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No suspension on the B.O.B. None needed, in my opinion.
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Old 11-14-17, 07:56 PM   #24
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I'd like a trailer that used a spare rear wheel (rather than front, which is the case with the Extrawheel), since I am far more likely to trash out the rear wheel.
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Old 11-15-17, 09:49 PM   #25
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We have used two trailers for touring: a bob and a dom T2. Purchased the dom because its aluminum, cut 4 lbs. Yes, its a bit smaller. I modified the hitch to match the bob, turned the rear wheel mount around and lowered the center of gravity. One can see the madness i'm following: #1 lighter is always better, less is more, #2 , closer to the ground adds stability, especially for us with a tandem. I prefer one wheel for the reasons everyone else has stated. The other item I will mention is what I call the "westfalia concept", VW did a marvelous job of making every square inch usable.
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